NON-league aficionado Adie Arnold says the remarkable rise of Crewe’s Jon Guthrie proves there are hidden gems – even as far down as step six.
Verwood Town manager Arnold is aware of the Alex defender after he played for Pewsey Vale in Wessex One during Potters’ time in that division.
Defender Guthrie swapped the lower levels for life in the professional game when Crewe handed him a dream chance in the paid ranks in February.
Guthrie’s switch was made all the more sensational as his local community – including a charity set up after the death of his best friend – helped cover his accommodation and living costs during a 14-week trial with Crewe.
Initially spotted playing for Pewsey in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase, Guthrie went on to earn an 18-month contract with Crewe and could feature when Cherries visit Gresty Road this afternoon.
And Arnold believes the fairytale story shows that there is plenty of talent on offer if clubs look down the footballing ladder.
He said: “It is a credit to Wessex football and Wessex Division One if clubs are prepared to take a gamble on some of those young lads. “It shows that there are some very good youngsters out there.
“A lot of players get released by clubs and it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”
Guthrie is by no means the only Wessex League player to progress to the Football League in recent times.
Ex-Poole Town title winner Charlie Austin has made a sensational impact in the pro ranks with Swindon and now Burnley since leaving the Wessex in September 2009.
Former Christchurch and Brockenhurst defender Michael Green appeared for Port Vale in League 2 last season.
And Bournemouth also recently handed a trial to Christchurch’s teenage winger Harry Cornick.
Arnold believes Verwood have a player with the potential to step up. He added: “There are a lot of good players that I have seen who have missed out on opportunities because of being at the wrong club or because of the luck of the draw.
“If I am being honest, Jack Satterley (Verwood striker) is one of those. “He has tremendous ability and a lot of potential if he was spotted at the right time in the right game. Lads like that can still go a long way.
“If clubs put in the time and effort, you can pick up one or two.”
More non-league football in today's Daily Echo